Index: Safety

Number: 700-12

Effective Date





Page 1 of 13

Staff Contact

Nancy A. Carlson

Approved By

Denis Law


The purpose of the Personal Protective Equipment Policy is to protect the employees of the City of Renton from exposure to workplace hazards and the risk of injury through the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE is not a substitute for more effective control methods and its use will be considered only when other means of protection against hazards are not adequate or feasible. It will be used in conjunction with other controls unless no other means of hazard control exist.

PPE will be provided, used, and maintained when it has been determined that its use is required to ensure the safety and health of City employees and that such use will lessen the likelihood of occupational injury and/or illness.


All departments/divisions.


WAC 296-800-16002 through 16070


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

Specialized clothing or equipment worn by an employee for protection against a hazard. General work clothes (for example, uniforms, pants, shirts, or blouses) not intended to function as protection against a hazard are not considered to be PPE.


Any employee who performs a hazardous task, or task that could result in injury or illness, or whose jobs require that they stand or walk in a hazardous environment must wear protective equipment while performing such tasks. All possible precautions must be taken by employees to avoid exposure to injury or illness to themselves or others.

Always consider engineering, administrative, and/or work practice methods to control the hazards first. Identify those existing/potential hazards and tasks that require PPE. Personal protective equipment will be provided, used, and maintained when it has been determined that its use is required to ensure the safety and health of City employees and that such use will lessen the likelihood of occupational injury and/or illness.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) alone should not be relied on to provide protection for employees. PPE should be used after all other reasonable means of reducing hazards have been carried out. Identifying hazards in the workplace should be built into regular routines, which encourages employees to take active steps to get rid of all identified hazards. For example, the employee can:

•    Consider other ways to get hazardous jobs done;

•    Reduce hazardous materials or processes; or

•    Apply engineering controls to reduce or eliminate hazards.


6.1    The supervisor or his/her designee will conduct a walk-through survey of each work area to identify sources of work hazards. Each survey will be documented using the Hazard Assessment Certification Form, which identifies the work area surveyed, the person conducting the survey, findings of potential hazards, and date of the survey. The Department Administrator will keep the forms in the department. A completed Hazard Assessment will be kept on file for five (5) years.

6.2    The Department Administrator or his/her designee will conduct, review, and/or update the hazard assessment for PPE at least every year, or whenever the following occurs:

•    a job changes;

•    new equipment or process is installed;

•    there has been an accident;

•    whenever a supervisor or employee requests it; or

•    with all new hires.

6.3    Hazard Assessment (WAC 296-800-16005, WAC 296-800-16010)

Use the written hazard assessment checklist with WAC 296-800-160, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The supervisor is responsible for looking for and identifying hazards or potential hazards in the workplace, and determining if PPE is necessary on the job.

The City has developed a written hazard assessment tool. This tool assists in the performance of hazard assessment. Supervisors must use this tool for determining if employees need to use PPE by identifying activities that may create hazards for the employees. The activities are grouped according to what part of the body might need PPE. This tool can also serves as written certification that a hazard assessment, as required by WAC 296-800-16010, is complete and documented. See Hazard Assessment Checklist.


7.1    Selection of PPE    The selection of appropriate protective gear is based on the hazards anticipated or recognized. Complete protection calls for assembling a set of gear including respirator, hardhat, safety glasses or face shield (preferably both), body covering (coveralls, pants and jacket), gloves and safety boots/shoes (steel toe and shank). Omitting one item may compromise the individual's safety. Some pieces of protective equipment, such as hardhats and boots, have specific standards for manufacture and only those items meeting these standards should be used. However, there are no such standards for chemical protective clothing. Selections must be based upon judgment.

7.2    Once the hazards of a workplace have been identified, the designated department representative will determine if the hazards can first be eliminated or reduced by methods other than PPE, i.e., methods that do not rely on employee behavior, such as engineering controls.

7.3    If such methods are not adequate or feasible, then a designated department representative will determine the suitability of the PPE presently available; and as necessary, will select new or additional equipment which ensures a level of protection greater than the minimum required to protect City employees from the hazards. Care will be taken to recognize the possibility of multiple and simultaneous exposure to a variety of hazards. Adequate protection against the highest level of each of the hazards will be recommended for purchase.

7.4    All personal protective clothing and equipment will be of safe design and construction for the work to be performed and will be maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition. Only those items of protective clothing and equipment that meet NIOSH or ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards will be procured or accepted for use. Newly purchased PPE must conform to the updated ANSI standards which have been incorporated into the PPE regulations, as follows:

•    Eye and Face Protection ANSI Z87.1-1989;

•    Head Protection ANSI Z89.1-1986;

•    Foot Protection ANSI Z41.1-1991; and

•    Hand Protection (There are no ANSI standards for gloves, however, selection must be based on the performance characteristics of the glove in relation to the tasks to be performed.)

7.5    Affected employees whose jobs require the use of PPE will be informed of the PPE selection and will be provided PPE by the City of Renton at no charge. Careful consideration will be given to the comfort and proper fit of PPE in order to ensure that the right size is selected.


The City will provide PPE at no cost to employees under the following circumstances:

•    If the PPE is the type that would not reasonably or normally be worn away from the workplace, such as single use or disposable PPE; or

•    If the PPE is required to comply with a safety and health standard to protect employees wherever hazards exist from: processes, environmental hazards, physical, chemical, or radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants that could cause injury or impairment to the function of any body part through absorption, inhalation, or physical contact.


9.1    The City will provide training to each employee who is required to use PPE on the job, and communicate its PPE selection decision to each at-risk employee. Each affected employee will be trained to know at least the following:

•    When PPE is necessary;

•    What PPE is necessary;

•    How to put on, take off, adjust, and wear PPE;

•    The limitations of PPE; and

•    The proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of PPE.

9.2    The supervisor or Department Administrator will ensure that, before an employee is allowed to perform work requiring the use of PPE, he or she can demonstrate an understanding of the training specified above and demonstrate the ability to use PPE properly.

The supervisor will complete the “Personal Protective Equipment Training Certification” Form for every employee that requires PPE. The form will remain on file for the length of employment of each employee required to wear PPE, with a copy sent to Human Resources for the employee file.

9.3    An employee will be retrained if there is reason to believe the understanding, motivation, and skills required to use the PPE has not been retained. Circumstances where retraining is required include:

•    Changes in the workplace that make previous training out of date;

•    Changes in the types of PPE to be used make previous training out of date; or

•    Work habits or demonstrated knowledge indicate that the employee has not retained the necessary understanding, skill, or motivation to use PPE.

9.4    Training will be documented in writing, verifying that each employee using PPE has received and understood the required training. Documentation will include the name of the employee, date of training, the subject of the training, and the name of the person supplying the training. See PPE Training Certification form.

9.5    Training records will be kept on file in the Department for five years. A copy of all training records will be distributed to the City Risk Manager for entering into the City training database.


Supervisors must periodically check all PPE to make sure it is safe for the work to be performed. PPE must be durable, fit snugly, and not interfere with the employee's movements. Supervisors must make sure PPE is used and maintained in a clean and reliable condition and that defective equipment is not being used. They must make sure that, if employees provide their own PPE, that it is adequate for the workplace hazards, and maintained in a clean and reliable condition.


Employees should assess to determine if there is any potential source of eye or face injury inherent in the work process or present in the work environment. Employees should evaluate to determine if there are hot or very cold liquids or other materials which could splash in the face; chemicals that could burn, irritate, dry out, or cause other reaction in skin or eyes; particles such as grit or other debris thrown out while grinding, sanding, or cutting metal or windblown dirt or other debris that could abrade skin or eyes or become foreign bodies in the skin or eyes; or exposed to welding arcs or other sources of intense light. Welding hoods or helmets are required if the job task involves welding. If no hazard to face, other than the eyes, only eye protection such as safety glasses (with side shields) or goggles may be required. Goggles used with face shields may be required as protection from harsh chemicals. Goggles used for such purposes are to have vents that prevent liquid from entering. Based on the nature and volume of particulates in the work environment, the level of eye protection required will range from safety glasses to safety glasses with face shields.

11.1    Supervisors must make sure that employees exposed to hazards that could injure their eyes and/or face use appropriate protection. Examples of these hazards include: flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, any light that could injure the eyes such as lasers, ultraviolet, infrared light or objects that puncture.

11.2    Supervisors must make sure employees exposed to hazards from flying objects have eye protection with side protection, such as safety glasses with clip-on or slide-on side shields; also, eye protection for employees who wear prescription lenses must incorporate the prescription into the design of the eye protection, or the eye protection must be large enough to be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing them.

11.3    PPE used to protect the eyes and face must meet the specific standards of either the 1989 version, the 1998 revision, or the 2003 version of ANSI Z87.1, American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Education Eye and Face Protection.

11.4    Other protective eye and face protection devices may be used if the City can demonstrate that they are at least as effective as those constructed in accordance with one of the above consensus standards.


In general, if there is a chance that objects (tools, debris, materials) can fall from a location above where the employee performs job tasks, head protection will be required. The PPE prescribed for this hazard would normally be hard hats. Other head protection may be needed based on hazards presented by the work or the work environment:

12.1    Employees must wear appropriate protective helmets where employees are exposed to hazards that could cause a head injury. Examples of this type of hazard include: flying or propelled objects, falling objects or materials, or where employees are working around or under scaffolds or other overhead structures.

12.2    City-issued helmets must meet the specifications of either the 1997 or 2003 version of ANSI Z89.1, American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection, or the 1986 version of ANSI Z89.1, American National Standard for Personnel Protection--Protective Headwear for Industrial Workers--Requirements. Helmets may be used that do not meet these ANSI standards if it can be demonstrated that they are equally effective as those constructed in accordance with the above ANSIs.

12.3    Employees working near exposed electrical conductors that could contact their head must wear a protective helmet (that meets the above ANSI standards) designed to reduce electrical shock hazard. Caps with metal buttons or metal visors must not be worn around electrical hazards.

12.4    Employees working around machinery or in locations that present a hair-catching or fire hazard must wear caps or head coverings that completely cover their hair. Employees must wear a hair net that controls all loose ends in the following circumstances: when hair is as long as the radius of pressure rolls with exposed in-running nip points, or when hair is twice as long as the circumference of exposed revolving shafts or tools in fixed machines. In addition, employees must wear a hair covering of solid material when the employee is exposed to an ignition source and may enter an area containing class-1 flammable liquids, such as ether, benzene, or combustible atmospheres.


13.1    Employees must wear appropriate foot protection where they are exposed to hazards that could injure their feet. Examples of these hazards are falling objects, rolling objects, piercing/cutting injuries, or electrical hazards. Foot protection must meet the specifications of one of the following consensus standards: ASTM FR-2412-2005, Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection, and ASTM F-2413-2005, Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective Footwear, or ANSI Z41-1999, American National Standard for Personal Protection--Protective Footwear, or ANZI Z-41, 1991, American National Standard for Personal Protection--Protective Footwear. Protective footwear that does not meet these standards may be used if it is demonstrated that it is equally effective as that constructed in accordance with one of the above consensus standards. Employees must wear calks or other suitable footwear to protect against slipping while they are working on top of logs.

The City Street Division is exempt from the steel toe requirement because of the hot asphalt heating the steel.

13.2    The Department will need to determine if the employee must lift, carry, or otherwise handle materials or equipment that could be dropped or mishandled, causing impact or compression injury to feet or toes. Does the employee work in an environment where sharp objects could puncture his or her feet? If icy or other slick conditions exist, devices that slip over footwear to improve traction may be needed to prevent slips and falls. If standing water or extremely muddy conditions are encountered while performing the task, water-impervious over-shoes or waders may be required to keep the employee’s feet dry. Steel-toed footwear issued to labor and trades employees will be worn for all tasks that they perform, unless temporarily excused by a physician for medical reasons.


14.1    The potential for hand injury should be determined before performing a task. Sources of injury may be tools or materials with sharp or jagged edges that could cut hands or fingers; rough or course surfaces that could cause hand abrasions; splinters or sharp projections which could cause puncture wounds; hot or molten materials which could cause burns; and chemical substances which could cause chemical burns, irritation, dry skin, or allergic reactions. The type of gloves specified for hand protection (leather, cotton, rubber, nitrile, etc.) will be determined by the nature of the hazard(s) and the duration of exposure to the hazard(s).

14.2    Employees exposed to hazards that could injure their hands must use appropriate hand protection. Examples of these hazards include absorbing harmful substances, severe cuts, lacerations or abrasions, punctures, chemical burns and/or thermal burns, or harmful temperature extremes. When issuing hand protection, it will be considered how well the hand protection performs relative to the task, conditions present, duration of use, hazards and potential hazards.


15.1    To protect employees from drowning, the City will provide and make sure all employees wear personal flotation devices (PFD) when they work in areas where the danger of drowning exists, such as on the water, over the water or alongside the water.

15.2    Employees are not exposed to the danger of drowning when employees are working behind standard height and strength guardrails, or are working inside operating cabs or stations that eliminate the possibility of accidentally falling into the water, or are wearing an approved safety belt with a lifeline attached that prevents the possibility of accidentally falling into the water.

15.3    The City will provide employees with PFDs approved by the United States Coast Guard for use on commercial or merchant vessels. The following are appropriate or allowable United States Coast Guard-approved PFDs: Type I off shore life jacket effective for all waters or where rescue may be delayed; Type II near shore buoyant vest intended for calm, inland water or where there is a good chance of quick rescue; or Type III floatation aid good for calm, inland water or where there is a good chance of rescue.

15.4    The PFDs will be inspected before and after each use for defects and to make sure that defective PFDs are not used.

15.5    Approved life rings with an attached line will be provided on all docks, walkways, and fixed installations on, or adjacent to, water more than five feet deep. Life rings must be United States Coast Guard approved 30 inch size, have attached lines that are at least 90 feet in length, have attached lines at least one-quarter inch in diameter and with a minimum breaking strength of 500 pounds, be spaced no more than 200 feet apart and be kept in easily visible and readily accessible locations.

15.6    Life rings and attached lines must be maintained to retain at least 75 percent of their designed buoyancy and strength and be provided in the immediate vicinity in the following circumstances: when employees are assigned work at a casual location where the risk of drowning exists, or at a location over water where the vertical drop from an accidental fall would be more than 50 feet. Work at such locations must be subject to specific safety procedures as approved by the Department.


Noise may be generated by the equipment and processes required to perform the task or it may be present as background noise in the environment in which the task is performed. Regardless of the source of the noise, hearing protection is required whenever an employee is exposed to noise at 90 dBA (decibel level measured on the “A” scale) or above, time weighted average over an 8-hour shift. Further, it is required for any exposure, regardless of duration, at or above 140 dBA. If noise level seems high or is an issue while assessing a particular job task, contact the Risk Manager/Safety Officer to order a test to determine the actual noise level reading with a sound level meter or dosimeter.


Additional protective equipment may be required to safely perform the task being evaluated. If the job task must be performed in or near vehicular traffic, the employee must wear high visibility clothing. Leather aprons, chaps, and sleeves may be needed for certain welding processes. Waders or other clothing impervious to water may be required for certain work processes. Ensure that all hazards are noted and that appropriate protective equipment or clothing is specified.


18.1    Supervisors have the primary responsibility for implementing and enforcing PPE use and policies in their work area. This involves selecting appropriate PPE for employees if hazards are present, or likely to be present.
Supervisors are responsible for the following:

a.    Selecting PPE for each at-risk employee, to use for protection from the hazards identified in the workplace hazard assessment;

b.    Selecting PPE that properly fits each at-risk employee;

c.    Providing appropriate PPE and making it available to employees;

d.    Ensuring that employees are trained on the proper use, care, and cleaning of PPE;

e.    Ensuring that PPE training certification and evaluation forms are signed and given to the Risk Manager and the Department administrative employee responsible for tracking educational trainings;

f.    Ensuring that employees properly use and maintain their PPE, and follow City PPE policies and rules;

g.    Notifying City management and the Risk Manager/Safety Officer when new hazards are introduced or when processes are added or changed;

h.    Performing the quarterly PPE inspections for safety and wear and tear;

i.    Ensuring that defective or damaged PPE is immediately disposed of and replaced;

j.    Maintaining a master file containing the PPE training records; and

k.    Ensuring that users properly maintain their PPE in good condition; and

l.    Ensuring compliance with the provisions of this policy and the referenced WAC by all members of their crew/division/department.

18.2    Employee Responsibilities

18.2.1    Employees are the PPE user. PPE users are responsible for following the requirements of the PPE policies. This involves:

a.    Properly wearing PPE as required;

b.    Attending required training sessions;

c.    Properly caring for, cleaning, maintaining, and inspecting PPE as required;

d.    Following City PPE policies and rules; and

e.    Informing the supervisor of the need to repair or replace PPE.

18.2.2    Employees who repeatedly disregard and do not follow PPE policies and rules will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

18.3    The Department Administrator or his/her designee will ensure that hazard assessments are performed on all positions in the department or division and, as appropriate, each job task performed by the Department’s employees. He or she will:

a.    Ensure that the appropriate PPE is procured and available for employee use;

b.    Certify that a hazard assessment has been performed and the required PPE, if any, has been identified for each position or job task performed in his or her department or division; and

c.    Assure all training records are kept on site for a minimum of five years and a copy distributed to the Risk Manager.

18.4    The Risk Manager/Safety Officer will provide guidance and technical assistance to supervisory personnel in interpretation of the policies and procedures and will maintain a master file containing the PPE training records.


19.1    It is important that all PPE be kept clean and properly maintained. Cleaning is particularly important for eye and face protection where dirty or fogged lenses could impair vision. Employees must inspect, clean, and maintain their PPE according to the manufacturers’ instructions before and after each use.

19.2    Personal protective equipment must not be shared between employees until it has been properly cleaned and sanitized. PPE will be distributed for individual use whenever possible.

19.3    Defective or damaged PPE will not be used and will be immediately discarded and replaced.

19.4    It is also important to ensure that contaminated PPE which cannot be decontaminated is disposed of in a manner that protects employees from exposure to hazards.


The City of Renton believes that a Safety and Health Accident Prevention Program is unenforceable without some type of disciplinary policy, and that in order to maintain a safe and healthful workplace, the employees must be cognizant and aware of all City, State, and Federal safety and health regulations as they perform the specific job duties required. The following disciplinary policy is in effect and will be applied to all safety and health violations.

The following steps will be followed unless the seriousness of the violation would dictate going directly to Step 2 or Step 3.

Step 1:    A first time violation will be discussed orally between the supervisor and the employee. This will be done as soon as possible.

Step 2:    A second time offense will be followed up in written form and a copy of this written documentation will be entered into the employee’s personnel folder.

Step 3:    A third time violation will result in time off or possible termination, depending on the seriousness of the violation.